As a teacher, Christa shaped the minds and inspired thousands of children. As an astronaut, she became the first teacher in space and was a hero to many despite her tragic death. Even today, misery and grief from her death still grips this nation.
Christa McAuliffe was born on September 2, 1948 in Boston, Massachusetts. As a youth, she watched the Apollo program and was inspired by it. Later in her astronaut application, she wrote “I watched the Space Age being born, and I would like to participate!”
Before she got accepted into NASA, she married her boyfriend Stephen McAuliffe. They had two children together. Christa took a job teaching middle school specializing in American History, Social Studies, law, and economics. She taught for eight years in Maryland before she moved to New Hampshire. There, Christa became a well known social studies teacher. Her teaching techniques were very engaging and involved a lot of field trips and speakers. It was in 1984 when she learned that NASA was looking for a teacher or civilian for their space program. The goal of the mission was have a teacher talk to students in space.
A dream that started when she was a little girl became a reality on July 19, 1985. Christa was selected over 11,500 applicants to become part of the space mission. During that autumn she started training for the space mission. She was soon a national celebrity. Media craved for more as she participated in many talk shows and interviews.
On that fateful day on January 28, 1986, that Christa McAuliffe died when the Challenger disintegrated into nothing a little more than a minute in the flight. A seal failure caused a flame leak which in return spread and destroyed the whole space shuttle. All seven crew members died. It was because of the excitement over Christa that made the accident have a drastic effect on the nation.
Today, there are schools, planetariums, halls, and streets in memoriam of her. However, we should not dwell on her tragic death. Instead, we should focus on the great legacy that she left behind.